Teaching children to hold their breath

Watch Video: Teaching children to hold their breath by Matt Harrigan, ...
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Teaching children to hold their breath

So children can learn to hold their breath on cue by the use of patterns and anticipation. In our program, we teach a 1-2-3 up and under. And we teach that in lieu of some other programs that teach blowing on the face of the child. The reason we do it our way is because it gives them multiple sensations of learning what’s coming next, learning to anticipate going under the water. Blowing in their face can just simply catch them by surprise. If you say, 1-2-3 up and you lift them up, they hear you saying 1-2-3, there’s an audible sign. There’s a physical sign of being lifted up. And then under when they’re being brought toward the surface. That is what teaches them to start to hold their breath. And they can learn that in 1-2 classes. Another reason we teach anticipation is because young children, uncertainty and the unknown causes stress. And stress hampers brain development. So any time you can set a routine with a child, it’s going to help relieve stress. This is why any parenting expert will tell you children need their routines. Well our classes are done in the exact same patterns each time for a reason, purposefully, so that the children know what’s coming next. So the kids who come in and they cry the first several weeks, I always tell the parents, just keep them through till the end of class so they can understand what the sign is for them to be done with class. Once they learn that class isn’t this infinite thing and eventually there is an ending point, they start to come along. And through the repetition of the 1-2-3s, the songs in the same order, children grow to really love swimming.

Watch Video: Teaching children to hold their breath by Matt Harrigan, ...


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Matt Harrigan

Founder, Swimming LA

Although Matt Harrigan competed as high as Olympic Trials after swimming for Princeton University, Matt has focused on the learn-to-swim industry since 2009. Matt is an expert on infant/toddler swimming and educates parents on early age swimming, which includes physical, social and intellectual benefits.

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